Lorde confirms Israel concert cancelled

Kiwi pop star Lorde has cancelled plans to perform in Israel amid a backlash from Palestinian rights campaigners.

Israeli concert organisers announced the cancellation on Sunday afternoon (local time), The Jerusalem Post reports. 

Lorde released a statement to The Jerusalem Post reporter Amy Spiro
explaining her reasons for cancelling.

The 'Green Light' hitmaker was applauded by some for announcing her first gig in the troubled country, but others urged her to boycott Israel as several other artists have over its reported human rights abuses.

Concert organiser Eran Arieli apologised to the singer on Facebook.

"She doesn't deserve all this shit. The last thing she needs on her comeback tour is the army of globalists and anti-Semites weighing down on her.

On Friday, Lorde responded to an open letter to her published on The Spinoff, saying the request for her to not perform in Tel Aviv has been "noted".

"Been speaking with many people about this and considering all options," she said. "Thank you for educating me, I am learning all the time too."

After the concert was announced, several Twitter users protested, while others argued that boycotting the country does not help.

Janfrie Wakim, spokesperson for the New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network, told Newshub she's "delighted" Lorde has reconsidered.

"We are relieved she has thought deeply about the consequences of her performance.

"It is a victory for justice and issues around the world that boycotts can matter and artists can make a difference.

"We were very distressed because we knew that this was a very significant indication of her seeming support for the policies of the Israeli Government, and particularly this brutal occupation that Palestinians have suffered under for 50 years.

"We were unsure as to why this had happened but we thought it was a very unwise move and obviously she has heeded particularly the letter of the young Palestinian and Jewish women here in Aotearoa to think again."

But a non-profit organisation dedicated to "countering the cultural boycott of Israel" urged her to ignore pleas for her to join the boycott.

CCFP told Newshub she shouldn't give in to the "artistic censorship" that a boycott of Israel would represent.

This is backed up by Jewish groups in New Zealand.

"We are deeply disappointed that Lorde has succumbed to a small but loud group of extremist bullies. Boycotts of Israel will not lead to peace. Those who advocate them are not interested in negotiations between the two sides to this conflict or a two-state solution," says spokesperson for the Jewish Council, Juliet Moses.

"By cancelling her show, Lorde has sided with those who support the isolation and demonization of the one Jewish state in the world. She has ignored the moderate voices, including the vast majority of Jewish Kiwis, who believe in dialogue and co-existence, and the leading musicians like Radiohead, Nick Cave, Guns N' Roses and Justin Bieber who have performed in Tel Aviv in the last year.

"She will still be performing in Russia, but no one accuses her of complicity with Putin, the occupation of the Crimea or chemical warfare in Syria."

Many of the international artists who choose not to host concerts in Israel are members of the Boycott Divestment Sanctions (BDS) Movement, which "works to end international support for Israel's oppression of Palestinians".

It's at the centre of fierce debate within the entertainment industry, with those holding opposing views on how to deal with the Israel/Palestine conflict often publicly criticising each other.